Business Immigration Monthly November 2014

Date: 10/24/2014
 Business Immigration Monthly November 2014

GREEN CARD LOTTERY FOR FY2016 OPENS OCTOBER 1ST THROUGH NOVEMBER 3RD

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has released its instructions for the Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery Program (DV-2016) for fiscal year 2016 (October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016). The Lottery Program for DV-2016 registration will be open for only 33 days from October 1, 2014 at noon (EDT) through close on November 3, 2014 at noon (EST).

The DOS makes 50,000 "green cards" available annually to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Applicants for Diversity Visas are chosen by a computer-generated random lottery drawing. The DOS will notify a participant's selection exclusively online. Beginning on May 5, 2015, applicants can check the status of their registration online via Entry Status Check at www.dvlottery.state.gov to determine whether they were selected. Entry Status Check will also notify selected

procedures for the application process and will confirm appointments for visa interviews. All entrants must check on the DOS website via the Entry Status Check to determine whether they have been selected to participate in the Lottery. The Entry Status Check is the ONLY manner in which entrants will be notified of their selection. The DOS will NOT mail any correspondence to the selected applicants nor will it send out an email. Furthermore, the Entry Status Check will be the only way in which selected individuals will be provided further instructions on immigrant visa procedures.

The Diversity Visa "green cards" are available only to citizens of countries with lower rates of immigration and no visas are available to citizens of countries sending more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the past five years. Within each region, no country may receive more than 7% of the available Diversity Visa "green cards" in any one year.

Countries Ineligible to Participate in DV-2016 Lottery Program

For the DV-2016 Lottery Program, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply because they are the principal source countries of Family-Sponsored and Employment-Based immigration, or "high admission" countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (which includes Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St. Helena, Turks and Caicos Islands – but not Northern Ireland) and Vietnam. Foreign nationals born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible for the Diversity Visa Lottery. A list of the countries whose natives are qualified for the DV-2016 Visa Lottery Program is contained in Exhibit A below.

NOTE: There are no changes in the countries of eligibility from FY2015.

NOTE: Even if you were born in one of the ineligible countries you may still qualify for a Diversity Visa if your spouse was born in an eligible country (and you are applying for the visa together) or if one of your parents was either born in or at the time of your birth was a legal resident of an eligible country.

Registration Procedures

The entries for the DV-2016 Lottery Program must be submitted electronically between noon (E.D.T.) Wednesday, October 1, 2014 through noon (E.S.T.) Monday, November 3, 2014. The DOS will only accept entries made on an electronic diversity entry form which will be available at www.dvlottery.state.gov during the registration period. The DOS will not accept mail-in entries. Only one entry by and for each person during each registration period is permitted. Receipt of more than one entry per person will disqualify the person from registration, regardless of the source of the entry.

The procedures for submitting an entry in the DV-2016 Lottery Program are as follows:

Entry Form Contents. The DOS will only accept completed Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Forms submitted electronically at www.dvlottery.state.gov during the registration period. All entries by an applicant will be disqualified if more than one entry for the applicant is received, regardless of who submitted the entry. The entry form will ask the applicant to submit the following information:

1. Full name; (exactly as shown on your passport);

2. Date of birth;

3. Gender;

4. City/town and Country of birth;

5. Country of eligibility or chargeability;

6. Photograph according to the specifications described below;

7. Current mailing address;

8. Country where you live today;

9. Phone number (optional);

10. Email address;

11. Highest level of education completed;

12. Marriage status;

13. Number of children that are unmarried and under the age of 21 years of age and each child's information including name, date of birth, gender, city/town of birth, country of birth and photograph that meets the previously described specifications (failure to list all children, who are eligible, will result in disqualification of the principal applicant and refusal of all visas in the case at the time of the visa interview); and

14. Spouse's information, including name, date of birth, gender, city/town of birth, country of birth and spouse's photograph that meets the previously described specifications (failure to list your spouse will result in disqualification of the principal applicant and refusal of all visas in the case at the time of the visa interview).

Photograph Requirements. The entry will be disqualified if photographs are not submitted of the applicant, his/her spouse and each child under the age of 21 (including all natural children as well as legally-adopted and stepchildren, except a child who is already a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident) even if the child no longer resides with the applicant and does not intend to immigrate under the Lottery Program. The photographs must be submitted electronically with the entry form. Group or family photos will not be accepted. There must be a separate photo for each family member. Each applicant, his/her spouse and each child will therefore need a computer file containing his/her digital photograph which will be submitted on-line with the entry form. The image file can be produced either by taking a new digital photograph or by scanning a photographic print with a digital scanner. The submitted digital images must conform to the following specifications:

New Digital Image

1. The image must be in the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) format;

2. The image must be in color - 24 bits per pixel (black and white or 8-bit images will not be accepted);

3. The maximum image size accepted is 240 kilobytes (240KB);

4. The minimum dimensions accepted are 600 pixels (width) by 600 pixels (height) and the height must equal the width;

Scanning a Submitted Photograph

5. Scanner Resolution must be at least 300 dots per inch (dpi);

6. The image must be in the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) format;

7. The maximum image file size accepted is 240 kilobytes (240KB);

8. Image resolution must be 600 by 600 pixels;

9. The image must be in color - 24 bits per pixel (black and white or 8-bit images will not be accepted);

Additional Specifications

10. The applicant, spouse or child must be directly facing the camera;

11. The head of the person being photographed must directly face the camera and should not be tilted up, down or to the side;

12. The head should cover about 50% of the area of the photograph;

13. The photograph should be taken with the person being photographed in front of a neutral, light-colored background (photographs taken with a very dark or patterned background will not be accepted);

14. Photographs in which the face of the person being photographed is not in focus will not be accepted;

15. Photographs in which the person being photographed is wearing sunglasses or other paraphernalia which detracts from the face will not be accepted; and

16. Photographs of applicants wearing head coverings or hats are only acceptable due to religious beliefs and still may not obscure any portion of the face of the applicant.

DOS Processing of Entries

After an applicant submits his/her entry, the DOS will send him/her an electronic confirmation notice of receipt of a completed entry form. Applicants will be selected at random by computer from among qualified entries. All entrants must check on the DOS website via the Entry Status Check whether they have been selected to participate in the Lottery on or after May 5, 2015 through June 30, 2016. The Entry Status Check is the ONLY manner in which entrants will be notified of their selection. The DOS will NOT mail any correspondence to the selected applicants nor will it send out an email. The DOS normally notifies approximately 100,000 applicants that they have been selected through the DV Lottery Program. However, only 50,000 "green cards" are available annually. The green cards based upon the DV-2016 Lottery Program will be issued between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016. However, because more individuals will be registered than there are immigrant visas available, a registered applicant who wishes to receive his/her immigrant visa must be prepared to act quickly after being notified, especially if he/she is assigned a favorable lottery number in the random selection process. The DOS emphasized that random selection in the lottery process does NOT guarantee that an applicant will receive a "green card."


Education or Work Experience Required

In order to qualify for a "green card" through the Diversity Visa Lottery Program, each applicant must have at least a high school education or its equivalent or, within the past five years, have two years of work experience in an occupation requiring at least two years of training. A high school education or its equivalent is defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education in the United States or successful completion in another country of a formal course of elementary and secondary education comparable to a high school education in the United States. Evidence of educational work experience should not be submitted with the lottery entry but must be submitted to the consular official or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer at the time of the visa or adjustment of status interview. In order to determine eligibility based on work experience, definitions from the Department of Labor's (DOL) O*Net On-Line database will be used.

DOS Does Not Charge to Enter the DV Lottery Program

There is no charge to enter the annual DV Lottery Program. The DOS does not employ outside consultants or private services to operate the program. A qualified entry submitted electronically directly by the applicant has an equal chance of being selected by the computer at the DOS Kentucky Consular Center as does an entry submitted electronically through a paid intermediary who completes the entry for the applicant. However, if an applicant or a paid intermediary submits more than one entry per person, the person will be disqualified from the program. A special DV Lottery Case processing fee will be payable later by persons who "win" the lottery and are processed for a "green card" based upon the lottery program.

EXHIBIT A

REGIONAL CLASSIFICATION OF COUNTRIES

ELIGIBLE FOR THE DV-2016 LOTTERY PROGRAM

Except as noted, the list below shows the countries qualified within each geographic region for the DV-2016 Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery Program.


Africa:


Algeria

Angola

Benin

Botswana

Burkina Faso

Burundi

Cameroon

Cape Verde

Central African Republic

Chad

Comoros

Congo

Congo, Democratic Republic of

Cote D'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

Djibouti

Egypt*

Equatorial Guinea

Eritrea

Ethiopia

Gabon

Gambia, The

Ghana

Guinea

Guinea-Bissau

Kenya

Lesotho

Liberia

Libya

Madagascar

Malawi

Mali

Mauritania

Mauritius

Morocco

Mozambique

Namibia

Niger

Rwanda

Sao Tome and Principe

Senegal

Seychelles

Sierra Leone

Somalia

South Africa

South Sudan

Sudan

Swaziland

Tanzania

Togo

Tunisia

Uganda

Zambia

Zimbabwe


* Persons born in the areas administered by Israel, Jordan and Syria prior to June 1967 are chargeable, respectively, to Israel, Jordan and Syria. Individuals born in the Gaza Strip are chargeable to Egypt; individuals born in the West Bank are chargeable to Jordan; individuals born in the Golan Heights are chargeable to Syria)

NOTE: Individuals born in Nigeria are not eligible for DV-2016.

Asia:


Afghanistan

Bahrain

Bhutan

Brunei

Burma

Cambodia

Hong Kong Special Admin. Region*

Indonesia

Iran

Iraq

Israel*

Japan

Jordan*

Kuwait

Laos

Lebanon

Malaysia

Maldives

Mongolia

Nepal

North Korea

Oman

Qatar

Saudi Arabia

Singapore

Sri Lanka

Syria*

Taiwan**

Thailand

Timor-Leste

United Arab Emirates

Yemen


*Natives of the following Asian countries do not qualify for this year's Lottery Program: Bangladesh, China (mainland-born), India, Pakistan, South Korea, Philippines and Vietnam. The Hong Kong S.A.R., Taiwan, and Macau S.A.R. do qualify.

Europe


Albania

Andorra

Armenia

Austria

Azerbaijan

Belarus

Belgium

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bulgaria

Croatia

Cyprus

Czech Republic

Denmark*

Estonia

Finland

France*

Georgia

Germany

Greece

Hungary

Iceland

Ireland

Italy

Kazakhstan

Kosovo

Kyrgyzstan

Latvia

Liechtenstein

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Macau S.A.R.

Macedonia

Malta

Moldova

Monaco

Montenegro

Netherlands*

Northern Ireland**

Norway

Poland

Portugal*

Romania

Russia

San Marino

Serbia

Slovakia

Slovenia

Spain

Sweden

Switzerland

Tajikistan

Turkey

Turkmenistan

Ukraine

Uzbekistan

Vatican City


*Including components and areas overseas.

**Great Britain (United Kingdom); including: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St. Helena and Turks and Caicos Islands does not qualify. Northern Ireland does qualify.

North America

The Bahamas.

In North America, Canadian and Mexican natives do not qualify for this year's Lottery Program.

Oceania


Australia*

Fiji

Kiribati


Marshall Islands

Micronesia, Federated States of

Nauru

New Zealand*

Palau

Papua New Guinea

Samoa

Solomon Islands

Tonga

Tuvalu

Vanuatu


*Including components and dependent areas overseas.

South America, Central America, and the Caribbean


Antigua and Barbuda

Argentina

Barbados

Belize

Bolivia

Chile

Costa Rica

Cuba

Dominica

Grenada

Guatemala

Guyana

Honduras

Nicaragua

Panama

Paraguay

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Saint Lucia

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Suriname

Trinidad and Tobago

Uruguay

Venezuela


Natives of the following countries do not qualify for this year's Lottery Program: Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico and Peru.



DOS FORECASTS ON AVAILABILITY OF IMMIGRANT VISAS

The DOS' Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division, Charlie Oppenheim, recently shared extensive information on the future availability of immigrant visas (green cards). The DOS is the government agency that controls and tracks the annual quotas on the issuance of green cards. Each month, the DOS issues the Visa Bulletin which outlines the availability of green cards for that month. A summary of Mr. Oppenheim's comments is listed below:

· EB-1 will remain current

· EB-2 World category will remain current

· EB-2 China will advance three to five weeks every month

· EB-2 India will show no further advancement after November. Individuals with priority dates on or before May 1, 2009 should try to get their adjustment of status applications filed in October.

· EB-3 China will remain a few months ahead of EB-2 China to spur demand in the EB-3 category. After a few months, the EB-3 category will require a correction and will be cut off.

· EB-3 India will continue to advance slowly at one to two weeks per month.

· EB-3 Mexico will advance with the EB-3 World category

· EB-3 Philippines may require a correction at a later point in the fiscal year if there is too much demand

· EB-5 China remains current through November, however as previously predicted, this category may be cut off as early as May 2015

Please note that month-to-month availability of immigrant visas varies and depends on many factors. These forecasts do not guarantee future availability.

Additional information about the movement of the employment-based immigrant visa priority dates will be contained in our firm's future Immigration Updates when it becomes available.



TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS EXTENDED FOR HONDURAS AND NICARAGUA

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced this week that it has extended the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Honduras and Nicaragua from January 6, 2015 to July 5, 2016. The extension will enable individuals who are already covered by TPS to retain this protection as long as they continue to qualify. Eligible individuals will have to re-register for TPS from October 16, 2014 to December 15, 2014 and apply for a new employment authorization document (EAD) which will extend their employment authorization through July 5, 2016. Individuals can find more information, including the applications for TPS at:



Honduras:http://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status-deferred-enforced-departure/tps-designated-country-honduras/temporary-protected-status-designated-country-honduras



Nicaragua:http://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status-deferred-enforced-departure/tps-designated-country-nicaragua/temporary-protected-status-designated-country-nicaragua



DHS is automatically extending the employment authorization for eligible individuals for six months, until January 5, 2015, in order to allow them to apply and receive their new employment authorization documents. A copy of the Federal Register Notice granting this automatic extension of employment authorization is sufficient documentation for Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, purposes. The copy of the Notice can be found at:



-Honduras: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-10-16/html/2014-24559.htm

-Nicaragua: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-10-16/html/2014-24560.htm



Employers should re-verify the employment authorization of these individuals prior to January 5, 2015. At that point, the individuals must provide a valid employment authorization document in order to continue to demonstrate their ability to continue working in the United States.



The DHS designates a country for TPS when conditions in the country are dangerous. This may be due to armed conflict, environmental disasters or other temporary events. TPS provides certain protections to nationals of the designated country such as protection from removal from the United States, eligibility for an employment authorization document and travel authorization. TPS is not a path to US lawful permanent residence. The following countries are currently designated by the DHS for TPS: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Syria.

NOVEMBER 2014 VISA BULLETIN UPDATE

The DOS released its November 2014 Visa Bulletin which shows the availability of employment-based immigrant visa categories for the month of November. Below is a summary of the bulletin highlights:

  • The EB-2 India category has retrogressed four years from May 1, 2009 to February 15, 2005 as predicted in the October bulletin.
  • The EB-2 China category continues to advance slowly from November 15, 2009 to December 8, 2009.
  • The EB-3 India category advances only a few days from November 15, 2003 to November 22, 2003.
  • The EB-3 World, Mexico and Philippines categories advance from October 1, 2011 to June 1, 2012.
  • The EB-3 China category shows significant advancement from April 1, 2009 to January 1, 2010.

Please note that month-to-month availability of immigrant visas varies and depends on many factors. These forecasts do not guarantee future availability.

Comparison to Prior Months

The following is a comparison of priority date movement since the inception of the current retrogression in 2007:

Dec 2007

Jun 2008

Aug 2009

Sept 2012

May 2013

Oct 2014

Nov 2014

EB-3 World

09/01/02

03/01/06

U

10/01/06

12/01/07

10/01/11

06/01/12

EB-2 China

01/01/03

04/01/04

10/01/03

U

05/15/08

11/15/09

12/08/09

EB-3 China

10/15/01

03/22/03

U

12/15/05

12/01/07

04/01/09

01/10/10

EB-2 India

01/01/02

04/01/04

10/01/03

U

09/01/04

05/01/09

02/15/05

EB-3 India

05/01/01

11/01/01

U

10/08/02

12/22/02

11/15/03

11/22/03

EB-3 Other Workers

10/01/01

01/01/03

U

10/01/06

12/01/07

10/01/11

06/01/12



Additional information about the movement of the employment-based immigrant visa priority dates will be contained in our firm's future Immigration Updates when it becomes available.

ICE RELEASES DRAFT OF POLICY GUIDANCE ON PATHWAY PROGRAMS

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has issued draft of policy guidance on Pathway Programs for F-1 students. SEVP is requesting the public provide comments on this draft policy guidance until November 10, 2014. These programs would allow foreign students that cannot meet degree program admission requirements to participate in a bridge program or a bridged degree program. As part of this proposed guidance, SEVP would certify these types of programs as long as they meet certain requirements, namely that they contain non-remedial courses, meet certain additional requirements if there is an English as a Second Language (ESL) component, the educational institution must have stated admission standards for the program, the student meets these admission standards before the Form I-20 can be issued, and the educational institution must have a policy on the length of the program and how the student's academic progress will be defined.



The draft policy guidance can be accessed at:

https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/PG%201210-03%20Pathway%20Programs.pdf



Additionally, a draft fact sheet on Bridge Programs can be accessed here:

https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/Bridge%20Programs%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf



The draft fact sheet on Bridged Degree Programs can be accessed here:

https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/Bridged%20Degree%20Programs%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf



DEPARTMENT OF STATE ISSUES FINAL REGULATIONS FOR J-1 PROGRAM



The DOS issued a final rule amending the regulations governing the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program that will take effect on January 5, 2015. These changes were initially proposed in 2009 and are the first significant change to the regulations for the J-1 program since 1993. The full text of the final rule can be accessed at: http://j1visa.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Subpart-A-Federal-Register-publication-8893_PublishedFR_10-6-2014.pdf



In summary, the rules modify five major components of the program: filing requirements for initial designated sponsors and those seeking renewals, requires private sector sponsors to provide management reviews in a specific format, enhances the rules applicable to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) database, replaces the information previously collected in Appendices A through D with the Forms DS-3036, DS-3037 and DS-3097, updates the health and accident insurance costs to reflect increases in these types of costs since 1993 (these provisions will not be effective until May 15, 2015), modifies the definitions of various terms used throughout the rules, includes specific language providing discretionary decision-making powers to the Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs with respect to the waiving or modification of the rules for programs under agreements between the United States and foreign governments and requires the Department to provide notice for such waivers or modifications, and revises the text of the regulations in an effort to make it clearer and more concise.



Certain provisions are not being modified with this rulemaking that had been included in the proposed changes to the regulations in 2009. These include requiring designated sponsors and applicants for this designation to obtain and submit Dun & Bradstreet reports, having sponsor site visits at the discretion of the DOS, and the proposed requirement that designated sponsors obtain information from Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for a principal alien's accompanying spouse and/or dependents.



Furthermore, the DOS also states that the next generation of the SEVIS (commonly known as SEVIS II) database, which has not yet been released, will have no impact on these new rules and that before it is released, the DOS will issue proposed rules to allow the public to comment.

MY E-VERIFY SITE LAUNCHED BY USCIS

In a continued effort to expand the use of E-Verify, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) launched a new website called myE-Verify, which can be accessed here: http://www.uscis.gov/mye-verify . The goal of the website is to allow employees to verify their own employment authorization via "Self Check" and to access worker's rights information via the "Employee Rights Toolkit". The website allows employees to set up their own personal accounts with E-Verify which will then enable them to "Self Lock" their Social Security Numbers in the E-Verify system to prevent identity theft. The ability to set up an E-Verify account and Self Lock feature will first be available to individuals in Arizona, Idaho, Colorado, Mississippi, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

MFEM NEWS

Leading Lawyers Magazine Again Recognizes Multiple Masuda Funai Attorneys for their Work in the Area of Immigration Law



The Leading Lawyers Network again recognized 4 Masuda Funai attorneys as being outstanding in the field of Immigration Law. Masuda Funai had the most number of immigration attorneys recognized in the State of Illinois by the Leading Lawyers Network. The Leading Lawyers Network has an extension selection and research process to determine outstanding attorneys in various areas of law. The 4 Masuda Funai attorneys who were recognized as outstanding in the field of immigration law by the Leading Lawyers Network are Ms. Kathleen Gaber, Mr. Bryan Funai, Mr. Bob White and Mr. Dayne Kono. The Leading Lawyers Network has previously recognized these attorneys for their outstanding accomplishments in the field of Immigration Law.



Mr. Bob White to Present at the NAFSA Region V Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan on October 30, 2014



Mr. Bob White, a Principal in the Masuda Funai's Immigration Group, will be leading a session at the NAFSA Region V Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The title of the panel is "The Immigration Vortex – Surviving the Dysfunctional U.S. Immigration System." The co-presenters with Mr. White will be Ms. Amy Benck from the Illinois Institute of Technology and Ms. Lauren Nehlsen from Elgin Community College. The session will cover basic immigration issues, timely immigration topics and future potential immigration changes. The session will be held on Thursday, October 30, 4014, at 9:30 a.m.



Masuda Funai will also be sponsoring an exhibit booth in the Exhibit Hall during the NAFSA Region V Conference. Please stop by the exhibit booth to get up-to-date immigration information and some Masuda Funai Halloween chocolates.



For more information about this or any other immigration law topic, please contact Bob White, at 847.734.8811 or via email at rwhite@masudafunai.com.

Weekly Immigration Updates are provided under the Legal Update link of the Immigration Group Section of our firm's website at www.masudafunai.com.



GREEN CARD LOTTERY FOR FY2016 OPENS OCTOBER 1ST THROUGH NOVEMBER 3RD

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has released its instructions for the Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery Program (DV-2016) for fiscal year 2016 (October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016). The Lottery Program for DV-2016 registration will be open for only 33 days from October 1, 2014 at noon (EDT) through close on November 3, 2014 at noon (EST).

The DOS makes 50,000 "green cards" available annually to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Applicants for Diversity Visas are chosen by a computer-generated random lottery drawing. The DOS will notify a participant's selection exclusively online. Beginning on May 5, 2015, applicants can check the status of their registration online via Entry Status Check at www.dvlottery.state.gov to determine whether they were selected. Entry Status Check will also notify selected

procedures for the application process and will confirm appointments for visa interviews. All entrants must check on the DOS website via the Entry Status Check to determine whether they have been selected to participate in the Lottery. The Entry Status Check is the ONLY manner in which entrants will be notified of their selection. The DOS will NOT mail any correspondence to the selected applicants nor will it send out an email. Furthermore, the Entry Status Check will be the only way in which selected individuals will be provided further instructions on immigrant visa procedures.

The Diversity Visa "green cards" are available only to citizens of countries with lower rates of immigration and no visas are available to citizens of countries sending more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the past five years. Within each region, no country may receive more than 7% of the available Diversity Visa "green cards" in any one year.

Countries Ineligible to Participate in DV-2016 Lottery Program

For the DV-2016 Lottery Program, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply because they are the principal source countries of Family-Sponsored and Employment-Based immigration, or "high admission" countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (which includes Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St. Helena, Turks and Caicos Islands – but not Northern Ireland) and Vietnam. Foreign nationals born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible for the Diversity Visa Lottery. A list of the countries whose natives are qualified for the DV-2016 Visa Lottery Program is contained in Exhibit A below.

NOTE: There are no changes in the countries of eligibility from FY2015.

NOTE: Even if you were born in one of the ineligible countries you may still qualify for a Diversity Visa if your spouse was born in an eligible country (and you are applying for the visa together) or if one of your parents was either born in or at the time of your birth was a legal resident of an eligible country.

Registration Procedures

The entries for the DV-2016 Lottery Program must be submitted electronically between noon (E.D.T.) Wednesday, October 1, 2014 through noon (E.S.T.) Monday, November 3, 2014. The DOS will only accept entries made on an electronic diversity entry form which will be available at www.dvlottery.state.gov during the registration period. The DOS will not accept mail-in entries. Only one entry by and for each person during each registration period is permitted. Receipt of more than one entry per person will disqualify the person from registration, regardless of the source of the entry.

The procedures for submitting an entry in the DV-2016 Lottery Program are as follows:

Entry Form Contents. The DOS will only accept completed Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Forms submitted electronically at www.dvlottery.state.gov during the registration period. All entries by an applicant will be disqualified if more than one entry for the applicant is received, regardless of who submitted the entry. The entry form will ask the applicant to submit the following information:

1. Full name; (exactly as shown on your passport);

2. Date of birth;

3. Gender;

4. City/town and Country of birth;

5. Country of eligibility or chargeability;

6. Photograph according to the specifications described below;

7. Current mailing address;

8. Country where you live today;

9. Phone number (optional);

10. Email address;

11. Highest level of education completed;

12. Marriage status;

13. Number of children that are unmarried and under the age of 21 years of age and each child's information including name, date of birth, gender, city/town of birth, country of birth and photograph that meets the previously described specifications (failure to list all children, who are eligible, will result in disqualification of the principal applicant and refusal of all visas in the case at the time of the visa interview); and

14. Spouse's information, including name, date of birth, gender, city/town of birth, country of birth and spouse's photograph that meets the previously described specifications (failure to list your spouse will result in disqualification of the principal applicant and refusal of all visas in the case at the time of the visa interview).

Photograph Requirements. The entry will be disqualified if photographs are not submitted of the applicant, his/her spouse and each child under the age of 21 (including all natural children as well as legally-adopted and stepchildren, except a child who is already a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident) even if the child no longer resides with the applicant and does not intend to immigrate under the Lottery Program. The photographs must be submitted electronically with the entry form. Group or family photos will not be accepted. There must be a separate photo for each family member. Each applicant, his/her spouse and each child will therefore need a computer file containing his/her digital photograph which will be submitted on-line with the entry form. The image file can be produced either by taking a new digital photograph or by scanning a photographic print with a digital scanner. The submitted digital images must conform to the following specifications:

New Digital Image

1. The image must be in the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) format;

2. The image must be in color - 24 bits per pixel (black and white or 8-bit images will not be accepted);

3. The maximum image size accepted is 240 kilobytes (240KB);

4. The minimum dimensions accepted are 600 pixels (width) by 600 pixels (height) and the height must equal the width;

Scanning a Submitted Photograph

5. Scanner Resolution must be at least 300 dots per inch (dpi);

6. The image must be in the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) format;

7. The maximum image file size accepted is 240 kilobytes (240KB);

8. Image resolution must be 600 by 600 pixels;

9. The image must be in color - 24 bits per pixel (black and white or 8-bit images will not be accepted);

Additional Specifications

10. The applicant, spouse or child must be directly facing the camera;

11. The head of the person being photographed must directly face the camera and should not be tilted up, down or to the side;

12. The head should cover about 50% of the area of the photograph;

13. The photograph should be taken with the person being photographed in front of a neutral, light-colored background (photographs taken with a very dark or patterned background will not be accepted);

14. Photographs in which the face of the person being photographed is not in focus will not be accepted;

15. Photographs in which the person being photographed is wearing sunglasses or other paraphernalia which detracts from the face will not be accepted; and

16. Photographs of applicants wearing head coverings or hats are only acceptable due to religious beliefs and still may not obscure any portion of the face of the applicant.

DOS Processing of Entries

After an applicant submits his/her entry, the DOS will send him/her an electronic confirmation notice of receipt of a completed entry form. Applicants will be selected at random by computer from among qualified entries. All entrants must check on the DOS website via the Entry Status Check whether they have been selected to participate in the Lottery on or after May 5, 2015 through June 30, 2016. The Entry Status Check is the ONLY manner in which entrants will be notified of their selection. The DOS will NOT mail any correspondence to the selected applicants nor will it send out an email. The DOS normally notifies approximately 100,000 applicants that they have been selected through the DV Lottery Program. However, only 50,000 "green cards" are available annually. The green cards based upon the DV-2016 Lottery Program will be issued between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016. However, because more individuals will be registered than there are immigrant visas available, a registered applicant who wishes to receive his/her immigrant visa must be prepared to act quickly after being notified, especially if he/she is assigned a favorable lottery number in the random selection process. The DOS emphasized that random selection in the lottery process does NOT guarantee that an applicant will receive a "green card."


Education or Work Experience Required

In order to qualify for a "green card" through the Diversity Visa Lottery Program, each applicant must have at least a high school education or its equivalent or, within the past five years, have two years of work experience in an occupation requiring at least two years of training. A high school education or its equivalent is defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education in the United States or successful completion in another country of a formal course of elementary and secondary education comparable to a high school education in the United States. Evidence of educational work experience should not be submitted with the lottery entry but must be submitted to the consular official or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer at the time of the visa or adjustment of status interview. In order to determine eligibility based on work experience, definitions from the Department of Labor's (DOL) O*Net On-Line database will be used.

DOS Does Not Charge to Enter the DV Lottery Program

There is no charge to enter the annual DV Lottery Program. The DOS does not employ outside consultants or private services to operate the program. A qualified entry submitted electronically directly by the applicant has an equal chance of being selected by the computer at the DOS Kentucky Consular Center as does an entry submitted electronically through a paid intermediary who completes the entry for the applicant. However, if an applicant or a paid intermediary submits more than one entry per person, the person will be disqualified from the program. A special DV Lottery Case processing fee will be payable later by persons who "win" the lottery and are processed for a "green card" based upon the lottery program.

EXHIBIT A

REGIONAL CLASSIFICATION OF COUNTRIES

ELIGIBLE FOR THE DV-2016 LOTTERY PROGRAM

Except as noted, the list below shows the countries qualified within each geographic region for the DV-2016 Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery Program.


Africa:


Algeria

Angola

Benin

Botswana

Burkina Faso

Burundi

Cameroon

Cape Verde

Central African Republic

Chad

Comoros

Congo

Congo, Democratic Republic of

Cote D'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

Djibouti

Egypt*

Equatorial Guinea

Eritrea

Ethiopia

Gabon

Gambia, The

Ghana

Guinea

Guinea-Bissau

Kenya

Lesotho

Liberia

Libya

Madagascar

Malawi

Mali

Mauritania

Mauritius

Morocco

Mozambique

Namibia

Niger

Rwanda

Sao Tome and Principe

Senegal

Seychelles

Sierra Leone

Somalia

South Africa

South Sudan

Sudan

Swaziland

Tanzania

Togo

Tunisia

Uganda

Zambia

Zimbabwe


* Persons born in the areas administered by Israel, Jordan and Syria prior to June 1967 are chargeable, respectively, to Israel, Jordan and Syria. Individuals born in the Gaza Strip are chargeable to Egypt; individuals born in the West Bank are chargeable to Jordan; individuals born in the Golan Heights are chargeable to Syria)

NOTE: Individuals born in Nigeria are not eligible for DV-2016.

Asia:


Afghanistan

Bahrain

Bhutan

Brunei

Burma

Cambodia

Hong Kong Special Admin. Region*

Indonesia

Iran

Iraq

Israel*

Japan

Jordan*

Kuwait

Laos

Lebanon

Malaysia

Maldives

Mongolia

Nepal

North Korea

Oman

Qatar

Saudi Arabia

Singapore

Sri Lanka

Syria*

Taiwan**

Thailand

Timor-Leste

United Arab Emirates

Yemen


*Natives of the following Asian countries do not qualify for this year's Lottery Program: Bangladesh, China (mainland-born), India, Pakistan, South Korea, Philippines and Vietnam. The Hong Kong S.A.R., Taiwan, and Macau S.A.R. do qualify.

Europe


Albania

Andorra

Armenia

Austria

Azerbaijan

Belarus

Belgium

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bulgaria

Croatia

Cyprus

Czech Republic

Denmark*

Estonia

Finland

France*

Georgia

Germany

Greece

Hungary

Iceland

Ireland

Italy

Kazakhstan

Kosovo

Kyrgyzstan

Latvia

Liechtenstein

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Macau S.A.R.

Macedonia

Malta

Moldova

Monaco

Montenegro

Netherlands*

Northern Ireland**

Norway

Poland

Portugal*

Romania

Russia

San Marino

Serbia

Slovakia

Slovenia

Spain

Sweden

Switzerland

Tajikistan

Turkey

Turkmenistan

Ukraine

Uzbekistan

Vatican City


*Including components and areas overseas.

**Great Britain (United Kingdom); including: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St. Helena and Turks and Caicos Islands does not qualify. Northern Ireland does qualify.

North America

The Bahamas.

In North America, Canadian and Mexican natives do not qualify for this year's Lottery Program.

Oceania


Australia*

Fiji

Kiribati


Marshall Islands

Micronesia, Federated States of

Nauru

New Zealand*

Palau

Papua New Guinea

Samoa

Solomon Islands

Tonga

Tuvalu

Vanuatu


*Including components and dependent areas overseas.

South America, Central America, and the Caribbean


Antigua and Barbuda

Argentina

Barbados

Belize

Bolivia

Chile

Costa Rica

Cuba

Dominica

Grenada

Guatemala

Guyana

Honduras

Nicaragua

Panama

Paraguay

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Saint Lucia

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Suriname

Trinidad and Tobago

Uruguay

Venezuela


Natives of the following countries do not qualify for this year's Lottery Program: Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico and Peru.

DOS FORECASTS ON AVAILABILITY OF IMMIGRANT VISAS

The DOS' Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division, Charlie Oppenheim, recently shared extensive information on the future availability of immigrant visas (green cards). The DOS is the government agency that controls and tracks the annual quotas on the issuance of green cards. Each month, the DOS issues the Visa Bulletin which outlines the availability of green cards for that month. A summary of Mr. Oppenheim's comments is listed below:

· EB-1 will remain current

· EB-2 World category will remain current

· EB-2 China will advance three to five weeks every month

· EB-2 India will show no further advancement after November. Individuals with priority dates on or before May 1, 2009 should try to get their adjustment of status applications filed in October.

· EB-3 China will remain a few months ahead of EB-2 China to spur demand in the EB-3 category. After a few months, the EB-3 category will require a correction and will be cut off.

· EB-3 India will continue to advance slowly at one to two weeks per month.

· EB-3 Mexico will advance with the EB-3 World category

· EB-3 Philippines may require a correction at a later point in the fiscal year if there is too much demand

· EB-5 China remains current through November, however as previously predicted, this category may be cut off as early as May 2015

Please note that month-to-month availability of immigrant visas varies and depends on many factors. These forecasts do not guarantee future availability.

Additional information about the movement of the employment-based immigrant visa priority dates will be contained in our firm's future Immigration Updates when it becomes available.

TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS EXTENDED FOR HONDURAS AND NICARAGUA

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced this week that it has extended the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Honduras and Nicaragua from January 6, 2015 to July 5, 2016. The extension will enable individuals who are already covered by TPS to retain this protection as long as they continue to qualify. Eligible individuals will have to re-register for TPS from October 16, 2014 to December 15, 2014 and apply for a new employment authorization document (EAD) which will extend their employment authorization through July 5, 2016. Individuals can find more information, including the applications for TPS at:

Honduras:http://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status-deferred-enforced-departure/tps-designated-country-honduras/temporary-protected-status-designated-country-honduras

Nicaragua:http://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status-deferred-enforced-departure/tps-designated-country-nicaragua/temporary-protected-status-designated-country-nicaragua

DHS is automatically extending the employment authorization for eligible individuals for six months, until January 5, 2015, in order to allow them to apply and receive their new employment authorization documents. A copy of the Federal Register Notice granting this automatic extension of employment authorization is sufficient documentation for Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, purposes. The copy of the Notice can be found at:

-Honduras: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-10-16/html/2014-24559.htm

-Nicaragua: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-10-16/html/2014-24560.htm

Employers should re-verify the employment authorization of these individuals prior to January 5, 2015. At that point, the individuals must provide a valid employment authorization document in order to continue to demonstrate their ability to continue working in the United States.

The DHS designates a country for TPS when conditions in the country are dangerous. This may be due to armed conflict, environmental disasters or other temporary events. TPS provides certain protections to nationals of the designated country such as protection from removal from the United States, eligibility for an employment authorization document and travel authorization. TPS is not a path to US lawful permanent residence. The following countries are currently designated by the DHS for TPS: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Syria.

NOVEMBER 2014 VISA BULLETIN UPDATE

The DOS released its November 2014 Visa Bulletin which shows the availability of employment-based immigrant visa categories for the month of November. Below is a summary of the bulletin highlights:

  • The EB-2 India category has retrogressed four years from May 1, 2009 to February 15, 2005 as predicted in the October bulletin.
  • The EB-2 China category continues to advance slowly from November 15, 2009 to December 8, 2009.
  • The EB-3 India category advances only a few days from November 15, 2003 to November 22, 2003.
  • The EB-3 World, Mexico and Philippines categories advance from October 1, 2011 to June 1, 2012.
  • The EB-3 China category shows significant advancement from April 1, 2009 to January 1, 2010.

Please note that month-to-month availability of immigrant visas varies and depends on many factors. These forecasts do not guarantee future availability.

Comparison to Prior Months

The following is a comparison of priority date movement since the inception of the current retrogression in 2007:

Dec 2007

Jun 2008

Aug 2009

Sept 2012

May 2013

Oct 2014

Nov 2014

EB-3 World

09/01/02

03/01/06

U

10/01/06

12/01/07

10/01/11

06/01/12

EB-2 China

01/01/03

04/01/04

10/01/03

U

05/15/08

11/15/09

12/08/09

EB-3 China

10/15/01

03/22/03

U

12/15/05

12/01/07

04/01/09

01/10/10

EB-2 India

01/01/02

04/01/04

10/01/03

U

09/01/04

05/01/09

02/15/05

EB-3 India

05/01/01

11/01/01

U

10/08/02

12/22/02

11/15/03

11/22/03

EB-3 Other Workers

10/01/01

01/01/03

U

10/01/06

12/01/07

10/01/11

06/01/12

Additional information about the movement of the employment-based immigrant visa priority dates will be contained in our firm's future Immigration Updates when it becomes available.

ICE RELEASES DRAFT OF POLICY GUIDANCE ON PATHWAY PROGRAMS

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has issued draft of policy guidance on Pathway Programs for F-1 students. SEVP is requesting the public provide comments on this draft policy guidance until November 10, 2014. These programs would allow foreign students that cannot meet degree program admission requirements to participate in a bridge program or a bridged degree program. As part of this proposed guidance, SEVP would certify these types of programs as long as they meet certain requirements, namely that they contain non-remedial courses, meet certain additional requirements if there is an English as a Second Language (ESL) component, the educational institution must have stated admission standards for the program, the student meets these admission standards before the Form I-20 can be issued, and the educational institution must have a policy on the length of the program and how the student's academic progress will be defined.

The draft policy guidance can be accessed at:

https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/PG%201210-03%20Pathway%20Programs.pdf

Additionally, a draft fact sheet on Bridge Programs can be accessed here:

https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/Bridge%20Programs%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf

The draft fact sheet on Bridged Degree Programs can be accessed here:

https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/Bridged%20Degree%20Programs%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf

DEPARTMENT OF STATE ISSUES FINAL REGULATIONS FOR J-1 PROGRAM

The DOS issued a final rule amending the regulations governing the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program that will take effect on January 5, 2015. These changes were initially proposed in 2009 and are the first significant change to the regulations for the J-1 program since 1993. The full text of the final rule can be accessed at: http://j1visa.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Subpart-A-Federal-Register-publication-8893_PublishedFR_10-6-2014.pdf

In summary, the rules modify five major components of the program: filing requirements for initial designated sponsors and those seeking renewals, requires private sector sponsors to provide management reviews in a specific format, enhances the rules applicable to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) database, replaces the information previously collected in Appendices A through D with the Forms DS-3036, DS-3037 and DS-3097, updates the health and accident insurance costs to reflect increases in these types of costs since 1993 (these provisions will not be effective until May 15, 2015), modifies the definitions of various terms used throughout the rules, includes specific language providing discretionary decision-making powers to the Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs with respect to the waiving or modification of the rules for programs under agreements between the United States and foreign governments and requires the Department to provide notice for such waivers or modifications, and revises the text of the regulations in an effort to make it clearer and more concise.

Certain provisions are not being modified with this rulemaking that had been included in the proposed changes to the regulations in 2009. These include requiring designated sponsors and applicants for this designation to obtain and submit Dun & Bradstreet reports, having sponsor site visits at the discretion of the DOS, and the proposed requirement that designated sponsors obtain information from Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for a principal alien's accompanying spouse and/or dependents.

Furthermore, the DOS also states that the next generation of the SEVIS (commonly known as SEVIS II) database, which has not yet been released, will have no impact on these new rules and that before it is released, the DOS will issue proposed rules to allow the public to comment.

MY E-VERIFY SITE LAUNCHED BY USCIS

In a continued effort to expand the use of E-Verify, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) launched a new website called myE-Verify, which can be accessed here: http://www.uscis.gov/mye-verify . The goal of the website is to allow employees to verify their own employment authorization via "Self Check" and to access worker's rights information via the "Employee Rights Toolkit". The website allows employees to set up their own personal accounts with E-Verify which will then enable them to "Self Lock" their Social Security Numbers in the E-Verify system to prevent identity theft. The ability to set up an E-Verify account and Self Lock feature will first be available to individuals in Arizona, Idaho, Colorado, Mississippi, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

MFEM NEWS

Leading Lawyers Magazine Again Recognizes Multiple Masuda Funai Attorneys for their Work in the Area of Immigration Law

The Leading Lawyers Network again recognized 4 Masuda Funai attorneys as being outstanding in the field of Immigration Law. Masuda Funai had the most number of immigration attorneys recognized in the State of Illinois by the Leading Lawyers Network. The Leading Lawyers Network has an extension selection and research process to determine outstanding attorneys in various areas of law. The 4 Masuda Funai attorneys who were recognized as outstanding in the field of immigration law by the Leading Lawyers Network are Ms. Kathleen Gaber, Mr. Bryan Funai, Mr. Bob White and Mr. Dayne Kono. The Leading Lawyers Network has previously recognized these attorneys for their outstanding accomplishments in the field of Immigration Law.

Mr. Bob White to Present at the NAFSA Region V Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan on October 30, 2014

Mr. Bob White, a Principal in the Masuda Funai's Immigration Group, will be leading a session at the NAFSA Region V Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The title of the panel is "The Immigration Vortex – Surviving the Dysfunctional U.S. Immigration System." The co-presenters with Mr. White will be Ms. Amy Benck from the Illinois Institute of Technology and Ms. Lauren Nehlsen from Elgin Community College. The session will cover basic immigration issues, timely immigration topics and future potential immigration changes. The session will be held on Thursday, October 30, 4014, at 9:30 a.m.

Masuda Funai will also be sponsoring an exhibit booth in the Exhibit Hall during the NAFSA Region V Conference. Please stop by the exhibit booth to get up-to-date immigration information and some Masuda Funai Halloween chocolates.

For more information about this or any other immigration law topic, please contact Bob White, at 847.734.8811 or via email at rwhite@masudafunai.com.

Weekly Immigration Updates are provided under the Legal Update link of the Immigration Group Section of our firm's website at www.masudafunai.com.



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